||According to a new study sponsored by NIDCD, the type of intervention may matter less to children who struggle to learn language than does the intensity and format of the intervention.
Different Approaches Help Kids with
According to a new study sponsored by NIDCD, the type of intervention may matter less to children
who struggle to learn language than does the intensity and format of the intervention. Published online in the Journal of Speech, Language,
and Hearing Research, the study compared four intervention strategies in children who have unusual difficulty using and understanding
language. It found all four methods resulted in significant, long-term improvements in the children’s language abilities. The interventions were delivered in an intensive, 6-week summer program that also included day camp activities
such as arts and crafts, outdoor games and board games. And though the aim of the study was to assess whether children who used a specific
software program had greater improvement
in skills, it turned out the kids in all four intervention groups demonstrated statistically significant improvement on auditory processing and language measures after the program.
Subconscious Cues and Drug Addiction
By using brain-imaging technology, NIDA-funded
scientists have discovered that cocaine-related
images trigger the emotional centers of the brains of patients addicted to drugs, even when the subjects are unaware they’ve seen anything. The researchers, who published their findings in PLoS One, used functional magnetic resonance imaging to study the brains of cocaine patients to whom they showed photos of drug-related cues like crack pipes and chunks of cocaine. The images flashed by in just 33 milliseconds—so quickly the patients were not consciously aware of seeing the photos—but the images stimulated
activity in the limbic system, a brain network involved in emotion and reward that has been implicated in drug-seeking and craving. The scientists
said the findings will help them as they search for potential new medications that can reduce the brain’s sensitivity to conditioned drug cues.
Gene Variants that Keep Depression at Bay
New research funded by NIMH shows certain
variations in a gene that helps regulate response to stress tend to protect adults who were abused in childhood from developing depression. Adults in the study who had been abused but didn’t have the variations in the gene had twice the symptoms of moderate and severe depression compared with those with the protective variations. Almost 15 million adults in the U.S. have major depression. The new report, published in the Archives of General
Psychiatry, adds to evidence that a combination
of gene variations and life experiences promote the disorder, or protect people from it. Researchers said this evidence could help clinicians
individualize care for their patients by predicting who may be at risk or by suggesting more precise methods of treatment.
Diuretics and Metabolic Syndrome
For people with high blood pressure as a part of metabolic syndrome—a cluster of conditions that increases the risk of heart disease—diuretics
offer greater protection against cardiovascular
disease and are at least as effective for lowering blood pressure as newer, more expensive
medications. These findings, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, run counter to current medical practices that favor ACE-inhibitors, alpha-blockers and calcium channel blockers for treatment of high blood pressure in those with metabolic syndrome. The findings came from ALLHAT, or the Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial, sponsored by NHLBI.
Boys with Autism at Risk for Thinner Bones
Results of an early study suggest dairy-free diets and unconventional food preferences could put boys with autism and autism spectrum
disorder (ASD) at higher than normal risk for thinner, less dense bones than boys the same age without autism or ASD. The study, funded by NICHD and NCRR, was published online in the Journal of Autism and Developmental
Disorders. Many children with autism have aversions to certain foods or insist on eating the same foods nearly every day, so while they may consume enough calories to meet their needs, they may lack certain nutrients like calcium
and vitamin D. Researchers suggested that as a result of the findings, parents of children with autism may wish to work with dietitians to ensure their kids get a balanced diet.—